Issue of December 14, 2014
     
NEWS
Benguet
Ifugao
 
OPINION
 

105th
Baguio Day Anniversary Issue
 
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EDITORIAL

Defying a Tradition


Without political will, concern, and respect for the welfare of oneself and one’s neighbors, the city could not expect having a common stand on firecrackers.

Health authorities and concerned agencies yearly remind the public about the dangers of using firecrackers during the holidays. But statistics of injuries, deaths, and gory images every year due to firecracker-related accidents seem not enough for many of us to draw back from the traditional yet destructive practice of lighting firecrackers.

For many years now, the Department of Health has been dissuading the public from using firecrackers through its Oplan Iwas Paputok campaign, with the aim of keeping everybody in one piece at a period when everybody should be rejoicing, safe, and enjoying a pollution-free environment.

Instead of tiring of the routine reminders, the DOH does leveling-up efforts to effectively bring across the message that our long-term health and safety is more important than a few hours of noises that can lead to fewer body parts or worse, end our life or that of another who happens to be “in the line of fire.” But whether or not the latest “scare” tactics dissuading the use of firecrackers especially among the children who are the usual victims will lead to zero casualty this year remains to be seen.

We also cannot ignore the guts of some local government unit heads to defy a tradition despite possible political and economic setbacks and lack of support from other officials who refuse to make a stand. While still legal, Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan for instance firmly refused to issue permits to sell in the city to firecrackers vendors, who got it from nearby Tuba, which further weakens the assurance that no resident will buy and bring in the goods from other sources.

We agree with City Hall lies the responsibility of coming up with a measure that protects us from firecracker injuries. But these should only serve as an affirmation of a majority’s will and one that is sure to punish disobedience. We believe the city’s decision to either tolerate or ban the sale and use of firecrackers will depend on the degree of respect for neighbors’ welfare and self-preservation among residents.

If it does not bother us having a child killed by firecracker injuries despite staying in a supposedly safe home, then no amount of reminders and penalties would keep us from continuing with the practice. If, on the other hand, we are mindful of the fact that not everybody appreciates an earsplitting and dangerous way of celebrating Christmas and New Year, then one can get used to safer ways of being merry.

Among the consequences that cropped from the firecracker debate, a reality that has to be changed and never be allowed to happen again, is losing lives to careless, even careful use of firecrackers. No one should die, senselessly, while celebrating a birth or ushering a new beginning. Those who light and get burned or lose a body part will get what they deserve, but the innocent ones do not have to suffer the worst.
 



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